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Damascus Blackmails Diplomats to Reopen their Embassies

Damascus Blackmails Diplomats to Reopen their Embassies

Saturday, 12 January, 2019 - 07:15
General view shows Damascus, Syria. Reuters file photo
London - Ibrahim Hamidi
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has surprised a number of foreign diplomats residing in Beirut with a decision to annul their residency permits as a means to exert pressure on their governments to reopen their embassies in the Syrian capital.

At the end of 2011 and in 2012, several western states, including the United States, closed their embassies in Damascus, except for the Czech mission, which has represented US diplomatic interests in Syria.

A number of diplomats were therefore stationed in Beirut, as western states activated their diplomatic missions in nearby states, particularly Turkey and Jordan.

Progressively, some western diplomats began visiting Damascus. They also kept their diplomatic residencies, which is granted by the Syrian Foreign Ministry.

However, the Ministry recently informed several diplomats residing in Beirut, including those from Chile, that it has annulled their residencies. The decision excluded Norway, Spain and Japan.

Diplomats said the decision aims to “exert pressure on western states to reopen their embassies in Damascus and resume diplomatic relations with it.”

They said such a move could effect assistance offered to Syria through the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Italy is studying the possibility of resuming activities of diplomatic missions in Syria.

“Italy is thinking about the possibility of reopening embassies where they have been physically closed on a widest scale. As for reflections on the Syrian particular case, they fully depend on the development of the situation in this country,” Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said Friday.

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